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When Tara Met Blog
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I heart NY

But I stomach LA...

I found these shirts in a Yahoo! store, and I think the contrast to the I <3 NY shirts sums it up for me.

I have no reason to complain about LA though, the people have been nice, the weather spectacular and I'm having fun, It's just not the City.  In fact, I don't feel like Los Angeles is a city at all. It's not like a Chicago, London, Boston or SF, since there's no central-ness to it and is missing that city feel.  Instead, it's like one big suburb with an occasional tall building and no public underground system. After all, what other city is this close to snow topped mountains and beaches? Yes, that part is very cool, I just don't think of LA as a city, never mind like The Big Apple.

I'm going home to get my fix though at the end of July for a friend's wedding. Yay! I can't wait. Gonna see my friends and family too. 

Posted by Tara at 9:30 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, July 13, 2007 3:02 PM PDT
Sunday, July 8, 2007
The first LA cupcake meetup group

Taking inspiration from Nichelle in New York City, I decided to start a Los Angeles Cupcake Meetup Group. We have 27 members so far and our first event on 7/7/07. I figured we'd start with the most famous cupcakery to the stars--including huge fan Katie Holmes-- Sprinkles, which bakes up 20 mouthwatering varieties including pumpkin and peanut butter and chocolate. 

The shop itself is very cute and efficient, not romantic looking like Magnolia's, but more organized and sterile like the Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in Manhattan. I ended up purchasing their Dark Chocolate cupcake (too much frosting and too rich) and two vanilla cupcakes (nice, but had better). Each cost $3.25 (yick!) and of course came with sprinkles on top, which was both fun and messy. The best part of this shop is that it's in the heart of Beverly Hills and the cute branding and logo, otherwise I look to discover better LA cupcake eats at future meet-ups.

Here are some photos:

LA cupcake meetup

LA cupcake member, Kody, brought some of his own homemade cupcakes from Cake and Art, which were almost too beautiful to eat (see below).  He offered to have our group tour his shop sometime in the future, yay! 

cake and art cupcakes

Posted by Tara at 2:46 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, July 9, 2007 10:09 AM PDT
Thursday, July 5, 2007

I've entered another blog-off for breast cancer competition. Each Thursday, 21 bloggers will be given a new word prompt and from that will build a post. The first week's word is "Survivor," which immediately caused me to think of my mother and not because she likes the TV show, which she does, but because she truly is a survivor and has instilled her strength into me (I hope).

My mother now owns her own business, I can say that proudly knowing it is all to her credit, while remembering how she was once a single working mother worrying about paying the bills and giving me all that she could. She's also one of the happiest, upbeat people you'd ever meet, yet it's hard to believe that given her past or that so much strength lies behind those manicured hands and bright smile. 

She has survived: a severly alcoholic mother; her father deserting them when she was five; being put in an abusive foster home when the state of NY took her away from her mother, younger sister and half brothers at the age of 10 due to being malnourished. 

Instead of being a victim to her surroundings though and staying in the system, she went to business school and like always dusted herself off, still smiling and seemingly unfazed. 

I always felt that if someone has had such a shitty childhood they should at least be rewarded later on, but instead my mom endured more pain, the worse being the loss of her three-year-old daughter, Serina, and experiencing every parent's nightmare. I still don't know how she survived that one, especially when she tells me stories about that week and the funeral, and my dad's resulting demise. Being a baby at the time my mother once again was the strong one and took care of me 100% while grieving and going through a divorce, all without child support too.

mom and I Despite being a single working and grieving mother, I never remember her crying or complaining but always smiling and being silly. She even went from being a secretary to director of HR while also coming home and taking care of me and still discoing it up in the later hours.

Even now, she is going through yet another blow, and surprise, surprise; she's dealing with that winningly too. She is a survivor, she gets through it and even more surprisingly, she never sulks about her hardships, but still acts like a happy school girl always enjoying life despite the bad times and still dolling out love.

I once said to her "Mom, you've had such a hard life." She then said very sternly and emphatically, "I've had a great life Tara, remember that, I've had a great life!" 

So no matter what I go through or have gone through, I've always looked at my mother's strength as a model and inspiration.  

I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gon' stop, I'm gonna work harder, I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I will survive, Keep on survivin -- Destiny's Child

Posted by Tara at 2:42 PM PDT
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Toasting the 4th

For Independence Day we decided to venture out of our area and go up to Santa Barbara wine country, Los Olivos (where Sideways was filmed) for the early afternoon to do some tastings. I wish we had brought a picnic basket because the sun was bright and the tasting rooms closed at 2 (although we still managed to hit Curtis, Fess Parker and Zaca Mesa wineries first) and lots of other people were lying out and unpacking their lunch. We meanwhile, were buzzed, thirsty and tired. We napped in the car and a group of guys from LA gave us some of their leftover cheese, lol. 

After, we headed back down to Santa Barbara to check out the town and catch their half hour fireworks show at Sterns Wharf. This time we were more prepared and unpacked our folding chairs and blanket and grabbed a spot on the beach along the massive crowd. The show was nice, lots of colors which I like and lots of pops and bangs like Raphael likes. They also had ones shaped like stars. 

When the show ended and we were fleeing with stampede of people, a fight broke out on the street with what looked to be like a young gang kicking one another in the head. The crowd separated like the red sea and finally the police on bicycles came to break it up. They only caught one kid. The city itself seemed peaceful enough so it was a bit random to see that. 

This might be an annual event for us.

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2007 2:48 PM PDT
Sunday, July 1, 2007
The Bowl was alive with the Sound of Music

Last night I went to a Sound of Music sing-a-long at The Hollywood Bowl.  I've been dying to go to one ever since watching the Will & Grace episode Von Trapped and being a fan of the Academy Award winning musical since I was a little kid made it all the nicer. No, I didn't drag Raphael to this event with me, he escaped this time, instead I went with two other female fans.  This was also my first time frequenting the infamous Bowl (which was awesome). The sing-a-long is quite a big deal out here too being sold out for it's sixth striaght year.

As expected the crowd of 17,416 people was mainly women, gay men and families with little kids. 

The show started with a parade of fans who wore costumes to look like the characters from the musical as well as objects seen and lyrics heard throughout the flick. For example, besides all the Von Trapp children and Maria look-a-likes, there was one person dressed as a chair with a pine cone on it. The grand prize winner was dressed as a large hand holding a moon beam as in "How do you hold a moon beam in your hand?" from the song How do you solve a problem like Maria?  Yes, a lot of time on people's hands. Although, I shouldn't talk since I wore a white dress with a blue sash as in "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes." I know, I'm a geek. There were several other girls with the same idea and got to go up on stage, but they had actual satin sashes, mine on the other hand was just regular blue fabric. If I attend again next year I'm going early and going up on that stage, I even have an idea for a costume but that will remain classified since the grand prize winner won a seven day Mexican cruise and I'm going to be in it to win it. 

After the winners were announced, the actual film started to much applause and with the words to each song appearing at the bottom of the screen for everyone to join in, which they did. Similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show performances in New York, it was very interactive; people would shout out things and boo when the Nazi's came on screen, things like that. When the Baroness appeared on screen, one woman yelled out "gold digger" and during So Long Farewell, everyone waved and echoed "goodbye" just like the people at the ball do in the movie. Also, during Edelweiss the crowd took out their cell phones and waved them slowly back and forth like lighters, creating a sea of fluttering glow bugs. 

Luckily, I've seen the film too many times to count otherwise I would have been annoyed that I couldn't hear parts of the dialogue or see properly when people covered the screen with laser pointers. It was annoying, but at least it didn't ruin the movie for me. 

Oh and the event was hosted by Melissa Peterman from Reba, who I barely recognized since she lost a lot of weight and looks amazing, she was also really funny and did a good job emceeing.

Another really cool thing about The Bowl is that they let you bring in your own food and drink, similar to the picnics or movies under the stars events that I used to attend in Manhattan parks. So we did a little picnic before the screening.

Overall it was a great time and a fun event, I highly recommend it. 

Posted by Tara at 7:44 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, July 1, 2007 8:05 PM PDT

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